Canadian History of indigenous people prior to 1815

Begin typing your introductory paragraph here.  In your introduction, be sure to avoid global statements such as ‘throughout history’ or ‘from the beginning of time.’  Be more specific to the time period that you are discussing.  Introduce the primary source to your readers.  Imagine someone who has not read the primary source, and doesn’t know anything about the period of time or people it relates to.  Your thesis statement, which in this case is your assessment of the primary source’s significance, should be placed at the end of the introductory paragraph.  While it is generally acceptable to use the first person in academic writing (i.e. ‘I’), it is often unnecessary and simply makes the prose cluttered.  For example, instead of saying ‘I think this document is significant because…,’ say ‘This document is significant because…’

Remember to always indent the first line of each paragraph as shown here (Hint: press ‘Tab’ once).  Do not leave extra spaces at the beginning of the essay or between paragraphs.  A good paragraph has a clear topic sentence that indicates the contents of that paragraph, as well as two or three points of support.  Never begin a paragraph with a quotation.  It should be possible to follow the line of argument of an essay by reading the topic sentences of each paragraph.  Your explication of the context, content, and significance should be in separate paragraphs.  You may have more than one paragraph for each of these three analytical elements.

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With respect to formatting, do not repeat the title of your essay on the first page.  Do not add headers.  Do not use sub-headings to indicate different sections in the essay; your topic sentences and transitional sentences (the last sentence in each paragraph) should do this work.  For citations, use Chicago (Notes & Bibliography) style.  I’ve included an example of a footnote in Chicago Style for the David Thompson primary source.[1]  In Chicago Style, it is only necessary to provide the full reference once. Here is an example of how to do a short-form Chicago style footnote for the primary source.[2]  One of the most important aspects of Chicago style notes is providing the specific page numbers.  Unless you are referring to a book or article as a whole, it is necessary to provide the specific page(s) that the information you are quoting or paraphrasing came from.  Here are correctly formatted footnotes for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography[3] and the Canadian Encyclopedia.[4]  Please note that in footnotes the author’s first name appears first, and the titles of books, dictionaries, encyclopedias (including their online versions), journals (e.g. Ethnohistory) are listed in italics.  To insert a footnote in Microsoft Word, go to References > Insert Footnote or Insert > Footnote (depending on which version of Word you use).  Bibliography entries are formatted slightly differently.  They are organized alphabetically by last name.  The bibliography should always be on a separate page (see below).

Your essay should also have an effective conclusion that restates the main argument and your key points of support.  Remember to edit your essay for content and proofread it for errors or grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Delete these instructional paragraphs from the template before handing in your essay.


Primary Source


Thompson, David.  David Thompson’s Narrative of His Explorations in Western America, 1784-1812. Toronto: The Champlain Society, 2013.


Secondary Sources


Binnema, Theodore.  Common and Contested Ground: A Human and Environmental History of the Northwestern Plains.  Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, 2001.


Bohr, Roland.  Gifts of the Thunder Being: Indigenous Archery and European Firearms in the Northern Plains and Central Subarctic.  Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2014.


Daschuk, James. Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life.  Regina: University of Regina Press, 2014.


Gilmore, Don. “David Thompson.” in The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published January 07, 2008; Last Edited March 04, 2015.


Hackett, Paul. A Very Remarkable Sickness: Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670-1846.  Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2002.


Moreau, William E.  The Writings of David Thompson, Volume 1: The Travels, 1850 Version.  Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.


Nicks, John. “Thompson, David (1770-1857).” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography. vol. 8, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed November 2, 2020,

[1] David Thompson, David Thompson’s Narrative of His Explorations in Western America, 1784-1812 (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 2013), 330.

[2] Thompson, 335.

[3] John Nicks, “Thompson, David (1770-1857),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 8, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003 (accessed November 2, 2020),

[4] Don Gilmore, “David Thompson,” in The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada. Article published January 07, 2008; Last Edited March 04, 2015 (accessed November 2, 2020),


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